Entertainment, Review

Book Review: The Big Lie By Julie Mayhew

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By Joanna Shaw

Teenager Jessika Keller is a good girl, she respect her parents, does not join in with the lurid activities of her peers and takes pride in the fact she is a representative of the population in Nazi England in 2014. But Jessika’s best friend, Clementine is starting to see the flaws in their so called ‘great nation’ and she decides to take action.

This YA book covers so many interesting topics from feminism to racism, dictatorship to rebellion all in a warped dystopic view of what Britain could have been if Germany won the Second World War. Winston Churchill was executed, school children are segregated to learn skills according to gender and all ties with countries such as America are severed. We see all of these actions through young Jessika’s eyes, her first experience of banned American music and her feelings towards her friend GG that are seen by society as immoral and illegal. Clementine decides that she has had enough of living under such a backward and restrictive regime and decides that the youth of the Great German Reich are being repressed and indoctrinated, her dramatic and horrific protest becomes legendary, but when Jessika tries to help her actions are quickly misjudged.

One thing I found interesting about this book is the portrayal of the new way of life in Britain, if it was not for the splicing of German speech and the description of the famous landmarks of London you have to keep reminding yourself that this is the country you live in and how terrifying the changes could have been. The representations of America is also fascinating, when a young American singer arrives to give a one-off momentous performance, the population of Nazi England is at first horrified at his lack of respect for their country, of his strange clothes and manner of speaking. This is quite reflective of when the American GI’s came to England during the Second World War, however the British nation in real life were much more welcoming.

Overall I think this book was an interesting reflection of history and what could have been the truth, I think the characters are fascinating and relatable and the plot will gradually make your blood run cold.

I give it 4 out of 5

Joanna Shaw is a third year English and Film Student and loves nothing more than a good book. Follow her on twitter @booklifereads and on Goodreads .

About the author / 

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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